I have spoken with so many friends who can’t understand why their audition song, solo at church, etc. doesn’t go as well as I thought it would.
My first question is – did you practice it in your car?
And the usual response is – OH YES!
I practiced it over and over in the car.
Yeah, well, there’s your problem.
Sitting in the car, you get a false idea of what is happening – vocally.
The windshield shoots the sound right back at you, so you have no idea of what your volume will be like when you don’t have that feedback; which means your body has no idea how it needs to support the sound or how the breath control will work.
Because you are sitting.
When you do your audition, etc. you will not be sitting.
You need to practice your music standing up!
And if you are practicing for a performance – you also need to be moving (just some pacing will suffice) while you are practicing – so you can get used to singing and moving at the same time.
When you sing, especially if you are singing properly, your whole body is involved.
When you are sitting, not only is your diaphragm compressed, you don’t have to worry about balance, you don’t have to work as hard for breath control – because you are not using as much breath while sitting.
You wouldn’t think something as natural as standing up would change how you sing – but it does.
The more things your body has to do while you are singing, means the less your body is able to focus on what it needs to do to produce the sound you are after.
I’m not saying practicing while sitting is wasted time.
It is fine for learning the notes and words.
In fact if you have the notes and words down while driving (while your mind is, hopefully, distracted with driving safely) you’ll have a better grasp of the notes and words when there are less (or different) things to distract you – like an audience.
So practicing singing is a balance between the singing technique and distraction.
If you don’t practice with the distractions, you are asking for trouble when you actually perform – because I can guarantee there will be plenty of distractions.
Whether it’s some kid in the audience swinging a sweater over her head (happened to me once); or your own body (burps and yawns are your ever-threatening enemy) – you can count on distractions.
It’s just how life is.
And you want to know how to tell if you are really comfortable with a song?
You get spit in your mouth when you sing it!
My first voice teacher taught me that, and she was right.
You know how when you are scared to death over singing and your mouth is completely dry?
This is the opposite reaction and its involuntary.
Your body is so comfortable with what is happening that it naturally prevents the dry mouth.
Weird, but true.